Newman plays with poise of old veteran [6:19 AM]
D and C reports: 'Probably no one outside the Buffalo Bills organization could have predicted that Keith Newman would become one of the most pleasant surprises of the 2000 season.'
Bills' ticket push earning more blackouts [6:19 AM]
D and C reports: 'That gives the Bills until 1 p.m. today to sell 2,000 remaining tickets. Sponsors could purchase any remaining tickets, ensuring the season's sixth sellout and the 14th in the last 15 games.'
No. 1 job is solving Bills' 3-4 defense [6:18 AM]
Chicago Tribune reports: 'But it is outside linebackers Keith Newman, who leads the Bills with four sacks, and Sam Rogers who will trigger most of the mayhem for the Bears to sort out. When a linebacker blitzes to the outside, typically the tackle slides out to block him, meaning the guard on that side must move quickly to block the defensive end to that side.'
QB takes care teammates [6:16 AM]
Chicago Tribune reports: 'Once again praising the play of his offensive line in the Bears' victory over Indianapolis, quarterback Jim Miller, who was not sacked in the game, said he gave all of his blockers gifts as a measure of his appreciation.'
No QB speculation [6:16 AM]
Chicago Sun Times reports: 'The more you talk to people around the Bears, the more you hear offensive coordinator Gary Crowton wanted to make a quarterback change even before Cade McNown was injured.'
Smith providing inside info on Bills [6:15 AM]
Chicago Sun Times reports: '[Thomas] Smith spent his first seven seasons with Buffalo, and the Bears are counting on him for some keen insights, or anything that might make a difference when they face the Bills on Sunday at Ralph Wilson Stadium.'
What quarterback controversy? [6:14 AM]
Arlington Heights Daily Herald reports: 'Wade Phillips, coach of the Buffalo Bills, knows what a quarterback controversy consists of, and he believes he doesn't have one on his team.'
Bears' reserve QB Matthews could move on after season [6:13 AM]
Arlington Heights Daily Herald reports: 'After waiting patiently and silently for the first half of the season, backup quarterback Jim Miller is getting his chance to play. But Shane Matthews, who moved up to No. 2 when Cade McNown was injured, may have to wait until next year to get back on the field - and it almost certainly won't be in a Bears uniform.'
Miller's generosity is appreciated, but all 'Big Cat' wants is victories [6:12 AM]
Arlington Heights Daily Herald reports: 'The monetary gift that quarterback Jim Miller bestowed upon his offensive teammates this week for their role in keeping him upright helping his production last Sunday was certainly appreciated but hardly necessary.'
Flutie will start; Bills hope Johnson is healthy enough to back up [9:12 PM]
AP reports: 'Johnson has nearly recovered from his separated shoulder, but lacks preparation time to be the starter when the Bills play Chicago in Orchard Park this Sunday, coach Wade Phillips said.'
Too close to call: Johnson or Flutie? [9:06 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'No, we're not taking about Al Gore and George W. Bush, but a race far more important to some Western New Yorkers. The Buffalo Bills could announce today if Doug Flutie or Rob Johnson will be the starting quarterback against the Chicago Bears Sunday at Ralph Wilson Stadium.'
It's time for Johnson to take charge [9:05 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'But don't you find yourself wishing Rob had a little more Jim Kelly in him? Regardless of where you stand on the quarterback controversy, don't you feel like shaking the guy and asking him to start acting more like a leader?'
Cowart, Christie gain AFC plaudits [9:04 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '"Those two guys especially have done well for us this year," Phillips said. "Steve Christie is the best clutch kicker I think anybody could have. Sam Cowart is playing tremendous football. He, to me, is the top linebacker in the league right now. He backs it up with the number of plays he's made. We've seen him play at a tremendously high level."'
Bears' QB controversy mild compared to Bills' [9:03 AM]
Tinley Park Daily Southtown reports: 'The story quoted a Bills player as saying, "Rob seems distracted by things, like wanting everyone to like him."'
Bears Notebook [9:02 AM]
Tinley Park Daily Southtown reports: 'Buffalo, Pittsburgh and the New York Jets are the only NFL teams to run a 3-4, which consists of three down linemen and four linebackers. The Steelers and Jets are ranked sixth and 13th, respectively, in the NFL in team defense.'
Bills know pain of Gore, Bush [6:43 AM]
D and C reports: 'We still don't know who our next president is going to be, and Flutie and Johnson still don't know for certain which one of them will be the starting quarterback Sunday for the Bills when Chicago comes to Ralph Wilson Stadium.'
Johnson deserves a chance to blossom [6:41 AM]
D and C reports: 'Johnson never will match the things Flutie does best, but he has the physical talent to take a good team a long way. The sooner he returns to the lineup and the more he plays, the more prepared he'll be when the Bills become a serious Super Bowl contender.'
Christie honored again by AFC [6:40 AM]
D and C reports: 'Place-kicker Steve Christie, who has four winning field goals this season and was 3-for-3 in last week's 16-13 overtime victory over New England, yesterday earned his third AFC Special Teams Player of the Week Award.'
NFL not the football Christie longed to play [6:39 AM]
Toronto Sun reports: '"I'm still waiting to get a tryout with some premiership soccer team," Christie said with a laugh.'
Bills stop short of naming starter [6:38 AM]
Toronto Sun reports: 'If Al Gore and George W. Bush can wait, why not Doug Flutie and Rob Johnson?'
Too close to call [6:37 AM]
Chicago Tribune reports: 'The more Buffalo coach Wade Phillips insisted Wednesday that there is no quarterback controversy on the Bills, the more controversial it became.'
Bears' Smith faces old teammates [6:36 AM]
Chicago Tribune reports: '"I'm going back to a stadium where I played seven years and that was home to me," said Smith, the Bills' No. 1 draft choice in 1993. "It's definitely going to be emotional. It's going to be different coming into that stadium and not being on the home sideline, being on the visiting sideline. I have some emotional ties to it because Buffalo gave me an opportunity drafting me and I've been there my whole career."'
Bills deny rift at QB [6:34 AM]
Chicago Sun Times reports: 'And he's got a point. The Bears have three quarterbacks who get along and are 2-7. The Bills have two quarterbacks who don't and are 5-4 and alive for a playoff berth.'
Buffalo's 3-4 defense presents a rare challenge for Bears [6:33 AM]
Chicago Sun Times reports: '"Their two nose tackles present a challenge for any center in the league," coach Dick Jauron said. "Washington is a giant man. And he's a very talented athlete for that size. They're not asking him to cover a lot of field, but the field that they ask him to cover, he does it very well. He takes two [blockers] at least, and lets their guys run."'
Two Bills cop NFL weekly honours [6:32 AM]
CP reports: 'Christie (special teams) and Cowart (defensive player) earned AFC weekly player awards, the first time in club history two Bills were recognized in the same week.'
Bills pose new challenge for Bears' offensive line [6:31 AM]
Arlington Heights Daily Herald reports: '"It's very, very difficult to single (block) them. The linebackers run; the linebackers are very active. (The 3-4) is a defense that dares you to run laterally and runs you down. And if you try to run inside, you have to deal with that nose tackle, who makes it very difficult."'
No love loss between Bills quarterbacks Johnson, Flutie [6:30 AM]
Arlington Heights Daily Herald reports: 'A teammate entered the fray earlier this week, saying, "No question we're a better team with Doug in there. All Doug thinks about is helping the team win and how he can do that, while Rob spends a lot of time wanting everybody to like him."'
Johnson still not sure if he's ready to start for Bills [8:50 PM]
AP reports: '"I don't think I'm throwing as well since I got hurt," Johnson said following the Buffalo Bills practice on Wednesday. "But it's only been three practices. You never know by Sunday."'
Christie, Cowart named AFC players of the week [8:48 PM]
AP reports: 'The pair became the first Buffalo Bills teammates to earn AFC Player of the Week honors in the same week following Sunday's 16-13 overtime win over New England.'
It's time for a Flutie-Johnson "death match" [1:24 PM]
Olean Times Herald reports: 'The winner gets to lead the Bills on their run for the playoffs, while the loser can hang out with Michael Peca all day, wondering why Buffalo has deserted them.'
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